Writing a Will and knowing what to put in it can often seem a daunting task, especially regarding banking information. I will now explain what you need to know when it comes to bank accounts and your Will.
Many people assume that they must list every individual account or item they own in their Will. However, this is not the case, and, in most circumstances, you do not need to include specific bank account details in your Will.
Professionally prepared Wills include a clause that deals with the ‘residue’. This captures any assets you own when you die that are not specifically mentioned elsewhere in your Will. This clause means you do not need to decide what to do with each of your individual bank accounts.
It is also not unusual for people to change bank accounts over the years. Therefore, listing specific accounts in the Will is not sensible – as every time you change to a new account, you would need to amend your Will.
What is important is that you discuss your wishes with your advisor, who will be able to identify how best to achieve your aims by using a mix of cash legacies and shares in the residue.
In cases of married couples, bank and building society accounts are sometimes held by the joint account holders as ‘joint tenants.’ This means that when one account holder dies, the funds in the account will pass automatically to the surviving joint owner by the principles of survivorship.
This is the case even if your Will states that everything you own should pass to someone else. If you are a third-party signatory on someone else’s account, this is not the same as having a joint account.
Also, if you run an account as an attorney for someone who cannot manage their own finances, those accounts remain the property of the person you are looking after.
For more information and advice on what to include in your Will, please contact me.